• 2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

    2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
  • It's essentially a Phantom with a taller roof
  • The front end says Phantom all the way With a few exceptions, of course
  • The side profile is quite attractive, though
  • And the roof features a massive moonroof
  • Even the interior is about 99-percent Phantom
  • Including the rear, at a glance Those suicide foors are cool, though
  • This is the first three-box SUV, though
  • And has a wall separating the passengers and cargo area
  • The rear tailgale has a cool picnic viewing area
  • And it stores away in the boot floor
  • Naturally rear passengers have a champagne chiller too
  • Like the PHantom, it rides on the Luxury of Architecture platform
  • But was engineered to house a second axle
  • Which is what makes all-whee-drive possible
  • Along with the off-road button, of course
  • It gets its motivation from a 6.75-liter V-12
  • It's good for 563 HP and 627 LB-FT of torque
  • It even has active suspension
  • That lowers the body by 40mm for easier entry and exit
  • So, despite the fact that it's about 90-percent Phanotm
  • There is still some things that set it apart and make it unique
  • There's no word on pricing yet
  • But this is a Rolls-Royce so you know it won't come cheap
  • And if you have to ask you probably can't afford it
  • But if you can, pleae feel free to let us take a test drive in yours ;)

The brand’s first SUV comes to challenge the Bentley Bentayga

The luxury SUV bug has bitten its share of automakers in recent years. Up to now, Rolls-Royce has been an exception, but come 2018 and the British automaker launched its very own people hauler. Better late than never, Rolls-Royce. News of Rolls’ interest in developing a luxury SUV came to light in 2015, when Rolls-Royce was already working on a brand-new platform for the Phantom sedan. As expected, the SUV is based on the same underpinnings and shares many styling cues and features with the luxury four-door.

Although Rolls-Royce has no history with SUVs, the company cited vehicles from the past which have been successful in events such as the Scottish Reliability Trials and the Alpine Trials, and had the ability to carry their owners "over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort" in Australia, India, and other parts of the world. On top of being Rolls-Royce’s first-ever SUV, the Cullinan also introduces many new technologies to the brand, including all-wheel drive, an off-road driving mode, and a suspension that actively extends the dampers to keep every wheel on the ground in rough terrain. The SUV’s true purpose is to challenge the Bentley Bentayga, but how does the Cullinan compare to its British rival? Let’s find out in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Global reveal

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior

  • Heavily based on the Phantom
  • Boxy yet somewhat elegant
  • 22-inch wheels
  • Raised suspension
  • Overall bloated design
  • Bigger than Bentayga
left right
The Cullinan is pretty much a Phantom with a wagon rear end and higher ground clearance

As hinted by the prototypes spotted on public roads since 2017, the Cullinan is pretty much a Phantom with a wagon rear end and higher ground clearance. The SUV is not exactly original design-wise, but it benefits greatly from the fact that the latest-generation Phantom is still fresh.

Ignore the higher suspension setup and it’s not exactly easy to tell the two vehicles apart up front. The fascias are almost identical, with the big, tall grille flanked by slender, rectangular headlamps and clean surfaces. Sure, the SUV’s headlamps are a bit thicker and the upper grille no longer extends under the "Spirit of Ecstasy" statue, but the layout is very similar.

Down below, the Phantom’s small vents just beneath the headlamps were also carried over, as did the license plate recess placed right below the grille. The bumper is again very similar, although the SUV has a three-piece grille configuration and the entire element is taller. An underbelly plate is visible at the bottom, giving the Cullinan a more utilitarian stance.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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The side profile is quite attractive, though
Unlike Bentley, which went with a sportier roofline, Rolls-Royce opted for a boxy layout

The story goes on in a similar fashion onto the sides. We can see the same boxy fenders, the tall, almost straight beltline that runs just under the windows, the vertical badges on the front fenders, and the featureless side skirts. Somewhat unusual for an SUV, the Cullinan doesn’t have black cladding around the wheel arches. The side skirts are a bit thicker than the Phantom’s, but don’t ruin the SUV’s elegance. Assuming that you find really big and boxy haulers elegant, that is. The massive 22-inch wheels are finished in chome for a dash of bling.

Of course, the higher suspension sets the Cullinan apart from the rest of the Rolls-Royce lineup, and so does the wagon-style roof. Unlike Bentley, which went with a sportier roofline, Rolls-Royce opted for a boxy layout that reminds me of station wagons from the 1990s. Fortunately, the tall quarter window and the really thick D-pillar give the Cullinan a unique look.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Exterior
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The Cullinan is anything but small, but it’s not the biggest Rolls-Royce you can buy

Unlike the front fascia and the sides, the rear end is different than any other Rolls-Royce available right now. Far from surprising given that it has a tailgate, a never-before-seen feature on a vehicle from the British brand. But despite being boxy, the rear end is somewhat styling thanks to a very short deck lid that raises above the shoulders, the vertical taillights, and the sloping rear window. The fairly big roof spoiler and the diffuser-like shape of the apron add a touch of sportiness too.

The tailgate, which Rolls-Royce dubbled "The Clasp" in a nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the car, is an electrically operated two-piece hatch, allowing for multiple options when loading the trunk.

But what about size? Well, the Cullinan is anything but small, but it’s not the biggest Rolls-Royce you can buy. At 210 inches from bumper to bumper, it’s actually 17.2 inches shorter than the Phantom. It’s 130-inch wheelbase is also almost 10 inches shorter than the sedan. However, the SUV is 5.6 inches wider than the four-door and its roof stands 7.2 inches higher. Compared to its main rival, the Bentley Bentayga, the Cullinan is 7.6 inches longer overall, while it’s wheelbase is 12.2 inches longer. It’s also 3.7 inches taller. Thanks to its boxy styling cues, the Cullinan may seen significantly larger than the Bentayga when compared side by side.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior

  • Disappointingly similar to the Phantom
  • Large infotainment display
  • 4- or 5-seat layout
  • Water resistant leather
  • Genuine wood trim
  • Drinks cabinet
  • Foldable rear seats
  • Up to 68 cubic feet of luggage room
2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior
- image 780069
Even the interior is about 99-percent Phantom
The center stack has hand-finished metal pillars and most surfaces are wrapped water resistant leather

Inside the cabin, the Cullinan is again almost identical to the Phantom. And this is really disappointing to be honest. While I do understand this "brand identity" thing in which all vehicle must look alike, no matter the segment, it’s annoying to see an SUV share interior features with a sedan. Sure, the Phantom is not a regular sedan and feels massive inside the cabin too, but the Cullinan’s interior layout makes it look as if Rolls-Royce designers were simply lazy.

There are a few features that set the Cullinan apart though, starting with the larger infotainment system in the center stack, the revised passenger section of the dashboard, the wider center console, and the slightly different door armrests. The seats are different too, but they’re obviously based on the Phantom’s. Are these features enough to make the Cullinan stand on its own? Not really.

The good news is that the SUV is similar to the Phantom when it comes to luxury features too. The center stack has hand-finished metal pillars, most surfaces are wrapped in Box Grain, durable and water resistant leather, while the genuine wood trim is molded in three dimensions for a high-tech look. Several areas are heated for maximum comfort, including the front door armrests, front centre console lid, lower C-Pillar, rear side armrests and rear centre armrest.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior
- image 780068
Including the rear, at a glance
Those suicide foors are cool, though
The Cullinan comes with two rear seats separated by a centre console incorporating a drinks cabinet

Entering the SUV is also a bespoke experience thanks to the special suspension that lowers the vehicle by 40 mm (1.5 inches) once the doors are open. I’m not sure if one and a half inches make that much of a difference for taller people, but it’s a cool feature to have, even in this ultra-luxurious segment.

Speaking of comfort, rear-seat passengers — which often are the owners — are treated to an office-like experience in the Individual Seat configuration. When ordered like this, the Cullinan comes with two rear seats separated by a centre console incorporating a drinks cabinet with whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes, and refrigerator. The seats also move in a number of planes to offer ultimate comfort whilst travelling in the rear. And sipping fine whiskey or expensive champagne, of course.

The second configuration includes the usual three-seat layout. Although it may not be as comfortable, this layout features a 60/40 split in which the seats fold down. This is a first for a Rolls-Royce and enhanced luggage room. The cargo floor sits lower than the tops of the rear seat cushions to prevent luggage from sliding forward, but the cargo floor can be raised to create a completely flat surface. The Cullinan can take up to 19 cubic feet of luggage with the parcel shelf in place and the rear seats up and up to 21 cubic feet without the shelf. With the rear seats folded flat and the cargo floor raised, the Cullinan can swallow up to 68 cubic feet.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior
- image 780088
This is the first three-box SUV, though
With the rear seats folded flat and the cargo floor raised, the Cullinan can swallow up to 68 cubic feet of luggage

The SUV is also fitted with a glass partition to separate the seating area from the trunk, but this option is only available for SUVs equipped with the individual second-row seats. Rolls-Royce claims that the partition window makes the Cullinan the first "three-box" SUV in the world. It’s also a "nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the motor-car, so the occupants did not travel with their belongings."

Moving over to tech, the Cullinan is loaded with the latest features, including Night Vision and Vision Assist with daytime and night-time Wildlife & Pedestrian warning, Alertness Assistant, a four-Camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility and helicopter view, Active Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane Departure, and Lane Change Warning, a High-Resolution Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot, and new-generation navigation and entertainment systems. The central console includes the "Off-Road" button, which sets the Cullinan apart from all the other Rolls-Royce model. Hill Descent Control button and Air Suspension height adjustment controls are also placed in the same area for immediate access to the SUV’s off-road skills.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Drivetrain

  • 6.75-liter V-12
  • 563 horsepower
  • 627 pound-feet of torque
  • First Rolls-Royce with AWD
  • Four-wheel steering
  • Off-road-tuned suspension
  • 200 pounds heavier than the Phantom
2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Exterior
- image 780077
It gets its motivation from a 6.75-liter V-12
The engine is shared with the Phantom, but the 6.75-liter V-12 in the SUV sports revisions of its own

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is built around the same all-aluminum "Architecture of Luxury" as the Phantom. Of course, the platform received major revisions in order to give the Cullinan off-road capability, but Rolls-Royce says that the extra bits added only 200 pounds.

The engine is also shared with the sedan, but the 6.75-liter V-12 in the SUV sports revisions of its own. For starters, while it delivers the same 563 horsepower, torque is down from 663 to 627 pound-feet. However, the twist comes 100 rpm sooner than in the Phantom, which kicks in at 1,700 rpm. All that oomph travels to the wheels through the same eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, but the really big news here is that all four wheels get a share of the power. This makes the Cullinan the first-ever Rolls-Royce to use an all-wheel-drive system.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
- image 779947
But was engineered to house a second axle
While it delivers the same 563 horsepower, torque is down from 663 to 627 pound-feet

The SUV is also equipped with four-wheel steering, a feature usually found in sports cars. This system improves stability and makes the Cullinan more nimble around corners.

The SUV rides on a new suspension system with a double-wishbone setup at the front and a five-link axle to the rear. Everything is controlled by a self-leveling suspension that makes millions of calculations every second and continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system. It reacts to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs, and camera information to provide the smoothest ride possible.

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
- image 780061
Which is what makes all-whee-drive possible
The SUV can be taken off the beaten path thanks to its electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system

But unlike the Phantom, the Cullinan is not only about the "magic carpet ride" experience. The SUV can also be taken off the beaten path thanks to its electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system that uses air compression to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction. The off-road mode can be activated by pushing the "Everywhere" button on the center stack. Once engaged, the driver can use various setting to take the SUV on any terrain, including gravel, wet grass, mud, snow, or sand.

Rolls-Royce says that the SUV can wade through up to 21.3 inches of water, which the brand claims to be the "deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV." This is true when compared to the Bentley Bentayga, as the Cullinan can go 1.7 inches deeper. On the other hand, if falls 14.1 inches short of the Range Rover, which isn’t as luxurious, but still competes in the premium segment.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Pricing

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Exterior
- image 780064
There is still some things that set it apart and make it unique

Priced from $200,000, the Bentley Bentayga is ridiculously expensive for an SUV. But the new Cullinan sets a new benchmark in that department with a sticker set at $325,000. This figure makes it the most expensive SUV in the world and placed it between the Ghost and the Phantom pricing-wise.

Rolls-Royce Cullinan Competition

Bentley Bentayga

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Exterior
- image 645143

The Bentley Bentayga is the obvious choice as the most direct competitor to the Rolls-Royce SUV. The idea of an SUV coming from both luxury brands seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago, but times sure have changed. In its first foray into the luxury SUV market, Bentley has prepared the Bentayga to be a cut above the rest, literally and figuratively. Covered in rich materials, the interior is class-leading with amenities expected in such a vehicle. Much like the Cullinan, it shares design features with other Bentley models, taking most exterior cues from the Continental. As a result, the Bentayga has a sportier, more muscular stance. Power is provided by a 6.0-liter W-12 engine rated at 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque in the range-topping model. Capable of hitting 60 mph in four seconds and a top speed of 187 mph, the Bentayga is among the quickest and fastest SUVs in the world. But unlike Rolls-Royce, Bentley offers more variety under the hood, including a 4.0-liter V-8 rated at 540 horsepower and 570 pound-feet and a 4.0-liter V-8 diesel that generates 429 horses and 664 pound-feet. A hybrid was also introduced in 2018. The drivetrain, which pairs an electric motor and a 3.0-liter V-6, is shared with the Porsche Cayenne and cranks out 456 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of twist. Pricing for the Bentayga starts at around $200,000.

Read our full review of the 2018 Bentley Bentayga.

Lamborghini Urus

2019 Lamborghini Urus Exterior
- image 749815
2019 Lamborghini Urus
Lambo’s first SUV since the LM002 was discontinued in 1993 with just 328 models produced

The Lamborghini Urus isn’t exactly a super-luxury SUV, but it’s just as appealing and exotic. And while it might not have whiskey glasses and a picnic table, it’s just as capable off the beaten path. What’s more, it’s the kind of SUV you can take to the track and set new records thanks to its powerful drivetrain and performance-tuned chassis. The Urus, named after one of the largest cows to ever roam the Earth, uses a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine that sends a whopping 650 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. The sprint to 62 mph takes only 3.6 seconds, while top speed is rated at 190 mph, making the Urus the fastest SUV on the market. Pricing for this modern Rambo Lambo starts from $200,000.

Read our full story on the 2019 Lamborghini Urus.


2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Exterior
- image 780074
But this is a Rolls-Royce so you know it won’t come cheap

So it finally happened, Rolls-Royce entered the SUV market and rolled out the most expensive crossover ever built. Much like the Bentayga, I’m pretty sure that the Cullinan will boost Rolls-Royce sales to unprecedented levels and that it will spawn a few ludicrous models from the Bespoke division, but I have mixed feeling about it. While I can live with the Phantom-based exterior design, the Cullinan deserves a unique interior. Sure, this might not matter to wealthy customers who are usually interested in the luxury features and the enhanced comfort, but looking at the layout I get the feeling that Rolls-Royce was a bit lazy in the design process. Finally, the Cullinan also needs more engine options to go against the Bentayga. I have a feeling the the Brits won’t borrow a diesel from BMW anytime soon, but the company definitely needs a hybrid drivetrain and maybe even a smaller V-8. Sticking to tradition is brave and cool, but it’s the 21st century and Rolls-Royce needs to ditch some of its old habits.

  • Leave it
    • Awfully expensive
    • Not as sporty as the Lamborghini Urus
    • I don’t like the bloated Phantom wagon design
    • Needs a hybrid drivetrain


2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior
- image 725603

Read our full review on the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

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Read more Rolls Royce news.

Leaked Shots of the Cullinan Exterior and Interior

Here it is folks, the Cullinan inside and out. We knew it was set to be based on the Phantom, but we had no idea there would be this much Phantom DNA. At this point, it’s safe to say that the Cullinan is 90-percent Phantom with a raised roof and raised suspension. Now that we’ve seen the interior and exterior, and how similar they are, you can bet it’ll get motivation from the 6.75-liter V-12, so expect the Phantoms output of 563 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed ZF automatic should be expected as well, and there will be all-wheel drive as standard equipment. For now, official details are scant, but it debuts very soon so be sure to check back for updates!

First Official Images

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior
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Spy Shots

November 20, 2017 - Rolls Royce Cullinan begins dropping camouflage

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan
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October 24, 2017 - Rolls Royce Cullinan reveals its interior

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Spyshots
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Interior Spyshots
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July 28, 2017 - Rolls Royce Cullinan caught testing on the Nurburgring

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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March 14, 2017 - Rolls Royce Cullinan caught testing in Sweden

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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March 9, 2016 - First mule caught testing

2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Rolls-Royce Cullinan Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII

Update History

Update 5-9-2018: The Cullinan is set to debut on May 10th, but some leaked images courtesy of Ferdfanpage give us an unadulterated look inside and out ahead of the big day. Check them out in the special section below.

Updated 11/20/2017: The upcoming Rolls Royce Cullinan was caught testing once again, and as you can see it begun dropping some camouflage, which allows us to see a side line that almost looks elegant and well in proportion.

Updated 10/24/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Rolls Royce Cullinan out for a new testing session, and this time they were able to take also a few shots of the interior.

Updated 07/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Rolls Royce Cullinan out for a testing session on the Nurburgring track.

Update 12/01/2016: Nine months after we got our first glimpse at the Cullinan SUV, Rolls-Royce releases two official, camouflaged images on a production-ready SUV and confirms that the SUV is being called Project Cullinan. Later this month it will be in the arctic circle doing some more testing before heading to the middle east in 2017. Check out our review below to see the new images and to learn more about it.

Updated 03/09/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Rolls Royce SUV - rumored to be called Cullinan out for a cold weather testing session in Sweden. You will notice that the car in the photos is anything but an SUV, but remember this is just a mule testing the upcoming platform.

Updated 09/17/2015: In a recent interview at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Muller Otvos confirmed that the company’s first SUV should be unveiled by the end of 2018. The car will most likely retain the current "Cullinan" codename, which was given by world’s largest rough diamond. (AutoExpress)

Updated 03/16/2015: Based on the recent details and our own speculations, we’ve created a rendering of the future Rolls Royce SUV. We hope you’ll like it.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

Press Release

#RollsRoyceCullinan #EffortlessEverywhere

“The super-luxury lifestyle is evolving and Rolls-Royce is in the lead. Luxury is no longer an urban concept. More and more it is about embracing and experiencing the wider world. Our customers expect to go everywhere in luxury, effortlessly and without compromise, conquering the most challenging terrain to enjoy life’s most enriching experiences, wherever they may be. For this reason, they have asked us to create a Rolls-Royce that offers uncompromised luxury wherever they dare to venture. Cullinan is that car. It is Effortless, Everywhere.

It is incomparable and dramatically evolves the parameters of super-luxury travel, translating Rolls-Royce’s ethos of ‘Effortlessness’ into physical capability, anywhere in the world. Cullinan will simply take the world in its stride.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“The launch of a new Rolls-Royce model is always a seminal moment in the luxury industry. Today we are setting a new standard by creating a new class of motoring and motor car for customers who are well-connected, highly mobile and have a global perspective. They want a new type of motor car that gives them unbounded access in ultimate luxury. Their sense of adventure and daring demands a “go-anywhere in ultimate luxury” motor car that will both take them to and meet them at the pinnacle of life. Cullinan is that motor-car.”
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Chairman of Rolls-Royce and Member of the Board of the BMW Group.

“From the very beginning the design team treated this brand new Rolls-Royce as a unique, high bodied car. With global customer expectations in mind, our aim was two-fold – realise a presence to match the magnificent capability of Cullinan, whilst setting sector defining standards for luxury and elegance. We know that many of our luxury patrons pursue sports or leisure hobbies that require precisely this type of go anywhere vehicle – Cullinan’s design gesture had to possess an immediate sense of effortless accomplishment.”

“The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box high-bodied all-terrain car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability that would satisfy the adventurous urges of our clients.”
Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“This landscape is savage, but this journey has been seamless. What’s unique is the ability to absorb the road without thought and simply let yourself get lost. You don’t so much drive as you float and it seems to get almost smoother the faster you go. The turning and the grip are unreal, almost hugging the road and seeming to glide above it. Sometimes making pictures is as much about getting there as it is about the image itself.”
Cory Richards, National Geographic photographer and star of The Final Challenge.

Cullinan at a glance

The most anticipated car of 2018 and, quite possibly, the most anticipated Rolls-Royce of all time.
Named after the largest diamond ever discovered which now resides in the British Crown Jewels.
An all-terrain high-bodied car that makes the idea of authentic, luxury off-road travel a reality for the first time. Luxury travel is now Effortless, Everywhere.
Contemporary and functional design ensures Cullinan gains iconic status in the face of increasingly bland SUV designs.
The first “three-box” car in the SUV-sector. Cullinan’s rear partition wall creates a distinct environment for passengers, separated from the luggage compartment.
The most practical of Rolls-Royces. Cullinan is the most versatile, family oriented, fun-to-drive super-luxury SUV available today.
The second new Rolls-Royce to sit on the all-new aluminium ‘Architecture of Luxury’, Cullinan is the most technologically advanced, and only purpose-built, luxury SUV in the world.
Tested to destruction all over the planet, Cullinan is an incredibly capable off-roader that sees the development of the ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ for off-road enjoyment, without sacrificing any Rolls-Royce on-road behaviour.
Cullinan offers a suite of Bespoke features developed specifically for the many various lifestyles of its owners including the Viewing Suite and the Recreation Module.
The 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine delivers 563bhp/420kW and 850Nm/627lb ft of torque to the all-new all-wheel drive, all-wheel steer system needed to overcome any challenge.
A century-long pedigree of adventurous quests and campaigns successfully carried out across all terrains thanks to the luxury offered by a stout vehicle that was swift, stealthy and dependable. “A Rolls in the desert is above rubies” – T.E. Lawrence.


When Rolls-Royce announced three years ago that it would launch Cullinan, it did so in the knowledge that its customers around the world had asked it to build “The Rolls-Royce of SUVs”, with luxury, performance and usability not seen before in the SUV market. Many of these customers were younger, very successful high-net-worth individuals who are heavily engaged in the experience economy, and wanted a Rolls-Royce that would take them to the ends of the Earth in ultimate luxury.

Automotive mobility has always been a fast moving and dynamic business, with new concepts – such as SUVs – appearing with great regularity. But those new concepts need to be perfected in order to be adopted by those customers who will accept no compromise – the patrons of true luxury. Hence the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

“History set our precedent, and today Rolls-Royce answers its call to action,” comments Müller-Ötvös. “Our answer to the visionaries, adventurers, explorers and those who believe in the supremacy of liberty is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.”

What is Cullinan?

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Rolls-Royce as it’s never seen before. When Sir Henry Royce said, “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it”, he could have had Cullinan in mind.

“We knew we had to offer our clients what they couldn’t find in the SUV market,” continues Müller-Ötvös. “They do not accept limitations or compromises in their lives. They are the new pioneers, and for them it’s about their sense of adventure and daring in how they live their experiences. This approach to life demands a motor car that can go-anywhere in ultimate luxury and style – Rolls-Royce style. Hence Cullinan.”

It was clear that these new, younger and more adventurous customers wanted a Rolls-Royce that would take them completely off the beaten track and reward them with life’s most enriching experiences. What they didn’t want was a vehicle as ubiquitous as an SUV with compromises such as increased cabin noise due to the “two-box” formula; shared platforms that affect performance and comfort; the choice of being good either on-road or off-road; or a lower, more featureless SUV that blends in and becomes just another car.

“Cullinan is luxury in its purest form blended with perfect practicality and off-road capability,” comments Müller-Ötvös. “Effortless, Everywhere is not just the promise behind Cullinan. It’s the fact.”

Making luxury Effortless, Everywhere engendered an evolution in Rolls-Royce’s approach to creating an authentic Rolls-Royce SUV. The most obvious sign of this was the radical rear of Cullinan.

For the first time a Rolls-Royce has an opening tailgate, called ‘The Clasp’. In a nod to the era when luggage was mounted on the exterior of the motor-car, so the occupants did not travel with their belongings, the rear profile of Cullinan is a two-part, ‘D-Back’ format, with the bustle denoting the place of the luggage. ‘The Clasp’ opens and closes in its two sections automatically at the touch of the key fob button.

The rear passenger compartment of Cullinan has been designed to offer the best seat in the house for the owner’s particular needs. Two rear configurations are offered – Lounge Seats or Individual Seats.

The Lounge Seat configuration is the more functional of the two options. With space for three passengers in the rear, it will likely be more attractive to families. The rear seats also fold down – a first for Rolls-Royce.

The seats fold electronically in a number of configurations by pressing the appropriate button in the boot or rear door pocket. One press sees each backrest effortlessly fold down, whist at the same time moving the headrests upwards to avoid making an imprint on the seat cushion. Both seat backs can be folded completely, creating a flat load area or in a 2/3 and 1/3 split, increasing practicality even further. Rear passengers can still travel with a long load, or use the carpeted seat back as an occasional table on which to rest their precious personal items.

For those who intend to transport large items back from their adventures, the rear of Cullinan offers a large amount of space in different arrangements.

The rear compartment or boot area offers a standard 560 litres of space, growing to 600 with the parcel shelf removed. Furthermore, the base of the rear seats sits higher than the boot floor, so even with both rear seats folded, the items in the boot cannot slip forward and are safely contained, unlike in any other SUV. But for those wishing to carry a long item back from their trip – whether it be a Mark Rothko from the Art Gallery or a newly discovered artefact from the latest archaeological dig – a loading length of 2245mm and load capacity of 1930 litres is accessed by electronically raising the boot floor to meet the seat base, allowing the item to slide through effortlessly.

Rolls-Royce’s investment in making the rear of Cullinan effortlessly and ultimately practical has the side benefit of offering a loading length longer than a Range Rover Vogue Extended Wheelbase. A very practical Rolls-Royce indeed.

Knowing that the Rolls-Royce customer expects to bespoke his or her Cullinan, a second rear configuration is offered.

The Individual Seat configuration is for those who value the ultimate luxury an SUV can offer over practicality. The two individual rear seats are separated by a Fixed Rear Centre Console incorporating a drinks cabinet with Rolls-Royce whisky glasses and decanter, champagne flutes and refrigerator. The seats also move in a number of planes to offer ultimate comfort whilst travelling in the rear.

One final feature brings Rolls-Royce’s ultimate level of luxury to this configuration of Cullinan, creating the first truly “three-box” SUV. Inspired by the age when one never travelled with one’s luggage, a glass partition isolates the passenger cabin from the luggage compartment, creating an inner ecosystem for the occupants. In addition to enhanced and class-leading silence within the cabin, a further benefit becomes clear in the hottest and coldest of environments. Thanks to the sealed cabin created by the glass partition wall, the occupants can remain in the optimum temperature even when the luggage compartment stands open.

Adventure awaits

Cullinan awakes at the touch of the unlock button on the Bespoke key, or indeed by simply reaching out to its beautifully tactile stainless steel door handle. It lowers itself by 40mm to make entry effortless as the iconic Rolls-Royce coach doors stand open to welcome driver and passengers to their adventure.

Having stepped directly into the cabin, thanks to the wide aperture of the doors and completely flat floor, driver and passengers press the door closing button to seal themselves within the sanctuary of Cullinan’s cabin. Or one touch of the sensor on the exterior door handles will see the doors automatically close themselves from outside.

A touch of the start button then elevates Cullinan 40mm to its standard, commanding ride height, placing its occupants in the perfect position from which to see the world as it drives off.

The driver instantly recognises Cullinan as a driver’s car thanks to its thicker, smaller steering wheel. It’s heated, pliant rim hints at epic voyages which Cullinan is all too eager to begin, whilst heated and ventilated seats mean passengers will be perfectly acclimatised. From their commanding position at the helm of Cullinan, all equipment and technology is clearly seen and reached by the driver.

All information is clearly communicated by the latest generation of digital instruments, with the displays themselves designed with clear and beautiful virtual needles, Rolls-Royce jewellery-like chaplets and clear lettering.

The central information screen is for the first time touch sensitive, allowing the driver to quickly select functions, map views and vehicle set-up whilst on the trail. This portal can still be controlled from the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy controller which nestles on the central console with the ‘Off-Road’ button, Hill Descent Control button and Air Suspension height adjustment controls.

A host of other cutting-edge technology makes Rolls-Royce Cullinan the most technologically advanced car of its type in the world. Further equipment includes: Night Vision and Vision Assist including daytime and night-time Wildlife & Pedestrian warning; Alertness Assistant; a 4-Camera system with Panoramic View, all-round visibility and helicopter view; Active Cruise Control; Collision Warning; Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane Departure and Lane Change Warning; an industry leading 7x3 High-Resolution Head-Up Display, WiFi hotspot, and of course the latest Navigation and Entertainment Systems.

For those not behind the wheel, the world’s most spectacular scenery is to be seen from a privileged position. Those in the rear sit higher than those in the front of the car on Rolls-Royce’s Pavilion Seating, enjoying grandstand views of their surroundings thanks to the large glazed area of Cullinan’s side windows and industry-leading panoramic glass roof. And if they wish to locate themselves or their latest far-flung discovery, they can zero in on their location on the rear touchscreen map.

Also, no photographic opportunity will be missed as all electronic devices can be charged via the five USB ports around the cabin, whilst phones can be wirelessly charged in the front of the cabin.

Arriving at their remote destination, the occupants can descend without dirtying their trouser legs as both front and rear coach doors wrap low under the sill of Cullinan, ensuring that all dirt remains on the outside of the door. A feature only Rolls-Royce would have considered.

Authentic Rolls-Royce engineering – everywhere

“The proposition of this car is an engineering masterpiece, its off-road capability, whilst maintaining the world-famous ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ of Rolls-Royce,” comments Müller-Ötvös. “When we began engineering this car, these were the guiding principles.”

Key to the creation of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV was the Architecture of Luxury – Rolls-Royce’s proprietary all-aluminium architecture.

The Architecture of Luxury really comes into its own in creating Cullinan. The engineering team behind Cullinan adapted the Architecture of Luxury to the design template of a high-bodied car laid down by Giles Taylor and his design team thanks to its innate adaptability.

It was designed and engineered from the ground up in such a way as to be scalable to the size and weight requirements of different future Rolls-Royce models, including those with different propulsion, traction and control systems, thus underpinning the long-term future product roadmap.

Cullinan uses this new architecture in a wholly different manner to deliver an iconic design and presence, uncompromised comfort, space and usability, cutting edge technology and the peerless on-road and off-road driving experience and capability.

The component parts of the base architecture were reconfigured into a spaceframe that was higher and shorter whilst also delivering a completely new feature never seen before on a series production Rolls-Royce – a tailgate.

The all-new aluminium sub-structure delivers extraordinary car body stiffness for exceptional ’best-in-class’ functional performance on rough terrain whilst offering better ride comfort.

The ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ taken off-road

The integration of new technologies into the architecture was also key to ensuring the fundamental quality of Cullinan as Effortless, Everywhere. The engineering team began by creating a drivetrain that would bring Rolls-Royce’s famous ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ off-road.

“The drivetrain system we engineered for Cullinan had one key job to do,” explains Caroline Krismer, Engineering Project Leader for Cullinan. “To bring the famed Rolls-Royce ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ to all other terrains possible, while ensuring class-leading on-road behaviour in the SUV sector.”

Rolls-Royce’s celebrated Magic Carpet Ride impresses off-road as well as on-road thanks to the new lighter architecture, and the latest generation of self-levelling air suspension. Through a thorough re-engineering of the existing air suspension system – including adding larger air struts with more air volume to cushion the blows of the toughest of terrains – the strengthening of drive and prop shafts, the inclusion of drive to the front wheels as well as the back for the first time in Rolls-Royce history, and the complete reworking of the new 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12 Rolls-Royce engine to deliver just the right level of torque (850Nm) at the lowest possible revolutions (1,600rpm), the Rolls-Royce engineering team has ensured Cullinan will take owners to places no modern Rolls-Royce owner has travelled in luxury before.

The suspension makes millions of calculations every second as it continuously varies the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system – reacting to body and wheel acceleration, steering inputs and camera information. A new double-wishbone front axle and 5-link rear axle deliver astounding levels of control over lateral roll and shear forces and deliver incredible agility and stability, as does the addition of four-wheel steering, all contributing to incredible drivability and nimbleness.

In the case of driving off-road, the electronically controlled shock absorber adjustment system uses an air compression system to actively push down any wheel it detects losing traction to ensure every wheel is constantly in contact with the ground and maximum torque is being provided to all wheels.

“Put simply, what makes the car great on-road makes the car great off-road,” concludes Krismer.

The final piece of the puzzle of ensuring that the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is Effortless, Everywhere is one single button. Known within Rolls-Royce as the ‘Everywhere’ button, one single push is all it takes to harness all the aforementioned peerless Rolls-Royce engineering and unleash all of Cullinan’s off-road capability.

Once engaged, the driver can finesse the off-road setting to glide over any situation, whether it be rough track, gravel, wet grass, mud, snow or sand delivering all 850Nm of torque to all four wheels without interruption. And faced with deep snow, sand or the need to ford streams, Cullinan delivers the deepest wading depth of any super-luxury SUV at 540mm thanks to its highest ride height.

Designing a force of nature

“At this point in the history of automotive design, SUVs have become homogenous and ubiquitous,” comments Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The label SUV is now applied to anything with a two-box silhouette and the least suggestion of going off tarmac. We envisioned an authentic, three-box all-terrain high-bodied car with a convention-challenging design and absolute capability that would satisfy the adventurous urges of our clients.”

Working with the Architecture of Luxury, Taylor and his team designed the car he knew would meet expectations. Iconic design, proper Rolls-Royce proportions inside and out, and uncompromised levels of luxury.

"One of the first benefits of the Architecture of Luxury to the design of Cullinan was the ability to place the wheels and create a unique roofline silhouette that would give Cullinan an immediate sense of Rolls-Royce pedigree,” comments Taylor. “This gave Cullinan the commanding stance of a warrior, immediately communicating its strength and power, whilst at the very same time allows effortless entry and exit from the rear cabin."

This strength and power are immediately apparent from the face of Cullinan. Key features such as lights and air intakes are deep set into the bodywork, whilst strong vertical and horizontal lines create a powerful visage, with the prominent brow of a Saxon warrior created by the line that runs across the top of the pantheon grille and ‘eyebrow’-like daytime running lights. This approach lends a toughness of expression to the front of Cullinan.

The grille is created from hand-polished stainless steel, but for Cullinan it is set slightly proud of the surrounding bodywork that pushes it up and forward. The Rolls-Royce badge and Spirit of Ecstasy ride significantly above the line of the wing, giving them a unique vantage point.

Away from the face of Cullinan the vertical lines that run from the A-pillars down along the raised bonnet edge, down the side of the grille and into the metal skid plate below emphasise the height of the car and its dominant character.

From the side, the purposefulness of Cullinan is clear. There is an uncompromising sheerness of the typical Rolls-Royce long bonnet profile, with the bonnet itself seen to be set higher than the wings of the car to communicate greater toughness.

The line then rises quickly on the A-pillar to resolve in an ultimate height for Cullinan of 1,836mm, a height accentuated by the glass to metal ratio as seen from the side. From just over the B-pillar, the roofline becomes quite fast and drops away to the even faster rear glass which resolves in an elegantly protruding boot lid that reminds one of the D-Back Rolls-Royces of the 1930’s, some of the last of the marque to still carry their owner’s luggage on a shelf outside the car.

Taylor’s famous rotating line then takes the eye back towards the front of Cullinan as it shoots forward through the 22-inch wheel hubs to give it a beautiful balance, whilst the depth of the side profile is optically broken up by a most authentic and honest piece of metal, like a Saxon spear, that flies down the lower door surface and gives the whole side of the car a beautiful sense of tension.

The rear view of Cullinan continues the theme of functionality, with the design reduced to a functional baseline. Any jewellery is subdued. So for instance, the Rolls-Royce badge stands on its own smaller plinth separate and above a thin metal finisher over the number plate housing. The design theme for the rear lights also remains simple as two narrow upright units house all the lights and are minimally adorned by thin narrow strips of jewellery at their centre. A final mark of functionality are the exposed metal exhaust pipes and skid plate, both reminding one of Cullinan’s power and ability.

Inside, the cabin of Cullinan combines authentic Rolls-Royce luxury with simple, symmetrical functionality to express the car’s inherent strength. Whether the fascia and centre stack of the dashboard or the arm rests on the doors, structural horizontal and vertical elements underpin the interior design.

The centre stack is framed by hand-finished metal pillars that bridge the upper fascia and middle console, giving it a sense of robustness, whilst also suspending the horizontal elements of the fascia to give a more commanding feel.

The upper fascia is clad in a newly developed contemporary ‘Box Grain’ black leather – a durable and water resistant boarded leather similar to that used in Italian high-end luggage and handbag design. It gives the fascia a sense of width as it runs across its upper segment, allowing the jewellery-like elements of clock and air vents to stand out beautifully.

Supporting this upper section is a strong band of wood that is moulded in three-dimensions to flow out to the centre stack, whilst the entire dashboard is protected by leather pads on top and at the bottom. The top pad is fashioned in a wing like fashion, suggesting muscularity and movement, as well as the functionality of a cockpit.

Finally, the seats in Cullinan have a bold, confident character, showcasing Rolls-Royce quality and craftsmanship. Designed to suit the more casual and dynamic quality of Cullinan, they feature a simple but modern horseshoe graphic which emphasises the supportive bolsters of the seat. These new seats also showcase Rolls-Royce’s mastery of leather craft as this entire backrest panel has been crafted from a single piece of leather to pick out a highly three-dimensional surface.

All areas throughout the interior that are now heated include the front door armrests, front centre console lid, lower C-Pillar, rear side armrests and rear centre armrest.

One life, many lifestyles

Driving to your remote location is simply the first part of the adventure in a Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Further enjoyment awaits in the shape of a Rolls-Royce Recreation Module.

Imagine the scene. Having chosen your adventure you call down to your garage. “Jason, we’re going to go drone racing today. Can you load the Drone Module into the Cullinan?” Downstairs, Jason selects the Drone Racing Module from the rack containing several other Recreation Modules that the owner has had commissioned from Rolls-Royce to satisfy his or her preferred recreational pursuits.

Fly fishing, photography, rock climbing, snowboarding, parascending, kite boarding, base jumping, volcano boarding or simply sitting and taking in the view, anything is possible thanks to the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Easily slotted and plugged into the boot of Cullinan, each Recreation Module contains a motorised drawer housing the equipment and paraphernalia specific to each Cullinan owner’s pursuits. When the owner is ready to play, it presents itself.

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